News, Politics

Occupy Toronto Protesters Peacefully Leave St. James Park

Occupy Toronto protesters manage to stay warm while the tents are coming down; Image: Nancy Miller
Occupy Toronto protesters manage to stay warm while the tents are taken down; Image: Nancy Miller

For more than a month, the people of Occupy Toronto staged a peaceful protest on behalf of what they call “the 99 per cent” (the percentage of Canadians who are living on too little money compared with the very wealthy “one per cent”).

They built a tent village in St. James Park in downntown Toronto and camped there.

They set up a media centre, so TV news stations, newspapers and websites like Teaching Kids News could get information about them and their cause.

They used “social media” tools like Twitter and Facebook to communicate with each other. This allowed them to talk to each other and let people know what was happening at all times.

They built a library, a food area and a planning area where they made decisions together on how to proceed.

They even had live, 24-hour-a-day broadcasts of events; a cameraman videotaped what was happening in the park all day, every day. This was broadcast, live, on “Livestream” over the Internet.

Early Wednesday morning it all ended. Hundreds of police officers came to the park to make sure the protesters obeyed a court order to leave because they were breaking the law by “trespassing.” Fortunately, the mood on both sides was peaceful.

Police in Toronto take down a tent.
Police in Toronto take down a tent.

In fact, the camerman doing the Livestream even commented to an officer that the police in Toronto seem “nice.” The officer agreed with him.

TKN asked the police and some occupiers what message they would like to send to young people.

Constable Wendy Drummond of the Toronto Police said the job of the police is to “create a safe environment for everyone.”

Protester Jordanna Heywood had camped in the park for a few nights to support what she called “the most vulnerable” (the most helpless people). Her message for youth is that, “people need a place to live; they need food, shelter.” She said, “We will not stop!”

Taavo Rosenberg has been in the park for eight days. He says his message to young people is how important of democracy is.

Most of the Occupy Toronto protesters are now gone from the park.

There will be a massive clean-up in St. James Park as city workers repair any damage to the grass done by the tent city.

The protesters will likely stay in touch with each other on Twitter and Facebook; they will likely plan future peaceful protests in other locations in Toronto.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Teaching Kids News has been following the Occupy movement in Toronto and around the world.  Articles about the protests were featured on TKN on October 13, October 18 and November 16.
Read the previous articles and the current article posted today.  How has this protest changed/stayed the same since it began?
Many people believe that the protests are not finished.  What do you think protestors in Toronto and across the world will to do next to deliver their messages?

Reading Prompt: Text Features
How do these photographs help you to understand this article?  What information can you gain about the protests and the police’s role in ending the occupation of the park?  What questions do the photographs raise for you?

Primary and Junior
Identify some text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Grammar Feature: Semicolon
One way that a semicolon (;) is used is to join two ideas together in one sentence.  Identify where semicolons are used in this article.  As a class, discuss why you think a semicolon was used to separate the ideas instead of a period.